TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis



Recent comments

  • English vs German wine, personal thoughts on a wine dialogue   7 years 50 weeks ago

    Thank you very much for the comment, Simon - and also for the email and further details for your Pfalz experience. The first time I came across Regent was in a Mosel winery where they had just a few years ago decided to go beyond Riesling as some of their customers had asked them for a lighter red wine. So far Regent has not left a strong impression on my, nor has Ortega, but what you say about the Ortega Beerenauslese sounds really interesting. It seems at some point this year I have to order a few bottles of 'unusual' wines...

    The English climate can indeed by lovely; in fact, I really enjoy the weather in London. It is great for cyclists as it does not rain very often and even less so heavily. Still, weather is a crucial factor and I can see why you want to go for very reliable varietals in the English climate.

    I will send you a more detailed email later on as the part about your dissertation sounds really interesting; it seems that you picked a much more useful topic than me (researching English maritime and cultural history also got me to meet interesting people, but it did not contribute anything to wine appreciation).

    Cheers,
    Torsten

  • English vs German wine, personal thoughts on a wine dialogue   7 years 50 weeks ago

    Funnily enough, I just met the English friend who took me to Roast three years ago, and it turned out that she had actually read this blog post. She reminded me of a part of that story that I had totally forgotten about: we did actually have English wine that night, English dessert wine that is.

    How can it be that I forgot about this? Well, after she had mentioned the fact the memory slowly came back, memory of wine that was floral and yummy at first sip, but then fell flat for me, lacking depth and complexity (of a good Riesling, for instance), which apparently is why I blanked it from memory. So the historically accurate version of that story would be that my English friends did not think that English wine per se should be avoided, they only thought English red wine should - how you could not want to at least try an English red on St George's day when the opportunity arises is still beyond me though.

    Either way, it took way over two years after moving to London before I found people who were actually interested in English wine - and the first few were Americans, of all people! Even now I could only name one or two English acquaintances who do show an interest in English wine.

  • English vs German wine, personal thoughts on a wine dialogue   7 years 50 weeks ago

    That's really interesting and thought-provoking. Alas, I still belong to the majority of English who have never tried wine from their own country. That will have to change on the evidence of your encouraging reports!

    The last bit in your post about all the supposed "mongrel" German varietals used in England reminded me, incidentally, about a particular wine I drank years ago (in 1997, in fact) while living for a year in Germersheim in the Pfalz as part of my university course: a "Duttweiler Mandelberg Ortega Beerenauslese" by Weingut Syring-Lingenfelder. Very nice it was too. While preparing my German dissertation that year - written about wine from the Pfalz (surprise, surprise) - I visited Geilweilerhof in Siebeldingen, the place where they first crossed Regent. I still remember me sitting there scribbling notes while some academic/professor type spoke to me about it in his office!

    Of course, as a lot of these cross-varietals of German origin are more immune to diseases like mildew etc., it would seem logical that they've taken to the English climate like the proverbial duck to water. (Though that's not to belittle the English climate, which can still be very pleasant, as I'm sure you know..)

    The comments about preconceptions (and habits) with regard to wine among both German and the UK consumers were also particularly interesting. I could relate to a lot of it.

    Anyway, great stuff, Torsten. I also liked the flag!

  • English vs German wine, personal thoughts on a wine dialogue   7 years 50 weeks ago

    Thank you for your comment, Karl! It is really interesting to see how the perceptions of different groups of people differ. Many wine professionals adore German Riesling, but it seems to be different with the general public. Interestingly, several wine lovers I have met recently said very positive things about sweet German Riesling, but were disinterested with regards to dry Riesling from Germany - why do it, they said, if you are so good at making the sweeter wines? Austria and Australia, they said, could take care of the dry ones. Now, the Germans interestingly mostly drink dry and the prestigious grand cru Riesling wines are dry by definition. Then there are the people who think that sweet wines are evil rubbish, hence German wine is evil rubbish.

    In that sense I get your frustration with regards to convincing people about the quality of German wine. I found that just putting them in front of a glass without telling them what it is worked quite well - this may also work for English wine.

    Also, thank you for recommending Three Choirs Vineyards. I have yet to visit an English vineyard.

  • Chapel Down, English Rose, 2008   7 years 50 weeks ago

    The thought that you might suspect something had crossed my mind, but there was not much I could do about it - other than not select an English white wine, as that may have been too obvious. Well, it is good that the wine was good enough so that it did not really matter where it came from...

  • Chapel Down, English Rose, 2008   7 years 50 weeks ago

    The crazy part is that when Torsten brought over from ENGLAND this rosé that he was suspiciously evasive about, the thought that it might be english very fleetingly, almost subliminally crossed my mind, but I dismissed it out of hand as soon as I was tasting this perfectly made, beautifully fruity wine. Stripe me pink and knock me down with a feather, is all I can say.

  • English vs German wine, personal thoughts on a wine dialogue   7 years 50 weeks ago

    I love German Rieslings and am currently on a quest to build up a small collection on less typical German wines (especially Reds) - so for me I would usually choose German over English. That said I have enjoyed many English wines as well; a wonderful 3 day stay at Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire opened my eyes to English light, crisp white wines, the Chapel Down Bacchus is a beautiful aromatic white and Nyetimber makes a decent drop of fizz.
    Sadly I find myself trying to convince non-wino friends that English and German wines are both worth a try - I still haven't decided which is harder to do!

  • Chateau d'Aydie, Madiran, 1995   7 years 50 weeks ago

    When you hear a warning such as 'tannins, tannins', take the tannin food position. Again, it seems that I missed one of your powerful bastards. But then I am more of a feminine drinker of lighter wines anyway, and I cannot sing blues..

  • Van Volxem, Goldberg, Riesling Erste Lage, 2008   7 years 51 weeks ago
  • A Wine Rambler beer tasting: Belgian Trappists, plum beer and a chocolate beer dessert   7 years 51 weeks ago

    We missed you yesterday! I certainly hope there will be another event - but if you are after the unusual, old stuff it would be Mike's call. He may be sitting on even more old treasures...

  • A Wine Rambler beer tasting: Belgian Trappists, plum beer and a chocolate beer dessert   7 years 51 weeks ago

    Wow, I did not see that coming. An engrossing read, I have to say. Might there actually be a world outside of wine waiting to be explored?

  • A Wine Rambler beer tasting: Belgian Trappists, plum beer and a chocolate beer dessert   7 years 51 weeks ago

    Oh! What I missed! It sounds great fun! As a girl and designer (wannabe!)I am attracted by La Penneffoise, I like the colours and design of the label. As an Italian, coffee-lover (well, it's an addiction, really!), I would have loved to try the coffee beer! Next time :)

  • The surprising wines of Markgräflerland - a guest ramble by Simon Jones   7 years 51 weeks ago

    Glad to hear that! It is definitely on my list of (wine) places to go to - so far I only passed through. I would also want to use the chance and explore Swiss vineyards...

  • The surprising wines of Markgräflerland - a guest ramble by Simon Jones   7 years 51 weeks ago

    (Excuse this rather belated reply:)

    You're welcome, Torsten. Very much enjoyed writing it!
    It's certainly worth a trip down here, if you get the chance.

  • Zehnthof Luckert, Spätburgunder 2007   7 years 51 weeks ago

    The Franconians may not like it, but while I am positive that most foreigners will have heard of Bavaria, I am not so sure if the know where (or what) Franconia is. Wine snobs might be aware of Franconian Silvaner, but even that is not something you would find in British wine stores. So I figured our international readers would find it easier to get to terms with Bavaria. I wonder if the wine Franconians do now grumble...

  • Zehnthof Luckert, Spätburgunder 2007   7 years 51 weeks ago

    I love the utter strangeness of the concept of "bavarian red wine" - must be deeply puzzling to the Munich crowd, who are on a strict diet of italian reds, and also somewhat insulting to Franconians, maybe, who to this day have not entirely gotten over being annexed into Bavaria 200 years ago - it seems you've put your finger on something there. Must get our friend Conny to comment...

  • Punch-up of the pinots (blind-tasting madness part 4)   7 years 51 weeks ago

    I guess the key question here is: how do you compare wine? Do you take the finest of two regions and let them fight it out? Or do you go for wines that sell at a similar price level? The latter may be difficult if you have to take into account exchange rates; also, wines from some regions have inflated prices, so they might find it quite difficult to compare on the same level as they price would also reflect international demand? On the other hand, does it appear to be fair to put a wine sold at 300 against one sold at 30 (Euro, Sterling, whatever)?

    I still think, and this is what I have said about English wine for a time now, that you need to take the price into account - not for judging quality, but value. As Julian said, this may be my Swabian roots taking over.

    To make this more interesting: if you had to pick a 2005 Burgundy for 15-20 €, what would you have suggest, David?

  • Punch-up of the pinots (blind-tasting madness part 4)   7 years 51 weeks ago

    No doubt you're right, not only about being an elitist, but also about the relative weakness of burgundy in the more affordable price range. The question of the tertium comparationis is a philosophical one here, I guess, and comparing two very different regions along the lines of price range is debatable. Both Torsten and I have swabian roots, so understand that we are genetically determined cheapskates to some extent. We want bang for the buck, no apologies, and I'll say this: as an elitist wine region, I think it's only right to hold Burgundy to the strictest standard at every level.

  • Punch-up of the pinots (blind-tasting madness part 4)   7 years 51 weeks ago

    Côte de Nuits-Villages is pretty basic Burgundy to be comparing with anything half-decent; even in 2005 I wouldn't be expecting much interest from a wine of this level. But then, I am an elitist (and bloody proud of it).

  • Punch-up of the pinots (blind-tasting madness part 4)   7 years 51 weeks ago

    It would be really interesting to repeat this tasting five years from now. Will I still prefer the German? How will the Burgundy develop? Will the Ziereisen stand up to the test of time? Maybe we will find out, maybe we won't, but right here I definitely prefer Ziereisen's Spätburgunder.

  • Knipser, Kalkmergel, Riesling Spätlese trocken, 2007   8 years 1 week ago

    This is only because the wine is neither free, nor does it promise to do something for your health. Otherwise House Republicans would be on the case already!

  • Knipser, Kalkmergel, Riesling Spätlese trocken, 2007   8 years 1 week ago

    Well, I don't hear anyone objecting.

  • Knipser, Kalkmergel, Riesling Spätlese trocken, 2007   8 years 1 week ago

    As no one is commenting on this wine, I will just have to leave my own comment: It was really quite something! I wish I had bought one or two bottles more.

  • Salwey, Grauburgunder Kabinett trocken, 2008   8 years 1 week ago

    Thanks for your comment. If you are not too keen on dryness in wine, why not also try off-dry and sweet wines? You will know better what Italy has to offer here, but I cannot but recommend Riesling...

  • Salwey, Grauburgunder Kabinett trocken, 2008   8 years 1 week ago

    It's always good to see a fellow vinophile drinking more whites, even if I’m not that big a fan of whites. Most of them have a dryness that irritates my palette. But, I do like some Pinot Grigios (including the one from Maso Canali, of course) which is why I often recommend it as a “crossover” varietal. When making Pinot Grigio, some vineyards dry some of the grapes out before pressing them into the mixture, which offers a unique, full, fruity tartness. The wine is a pale gold, with nice visual layers, and the feel is rather complex for a white.